A pair of men who face murder charges stemming from a 2016 wreck were back in the 59th state District Court Thursday and one of them went to jail.
Joshua Halliburton and Tripp Bird both appeared in court with their respective attorneys. Previously published reports show police contend Halliburton and Bird were involved in a wreck on July 29, 2016, in which Jennifer Russell was injured. The crash occurred on FM 691 near La Cima Road. Russell said she was a passenger in her boyfriend’s vehicle when he spit on a car that cut him off. That vehicle, she said, then forced their car into oncoming traffic and they hit a pickup head-on. Russell initially lost her right leg due to injuries from the wreck. She was released from the hospital but then had to return months later and eventually died in December.
After hearing from a medical examiner about the cause of Russell’s death in April, the Grayson County District Attorney’s Office added additional charges to the accident involving serious bodily injury or death, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges the pair already faced from the incident.
On Thursday, Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Matt Johnson asked Judge Larry Phillips to put off the pretrial hearing that was supposed to take place. He said he is still waiting for some medical records on Russell’s injuries and needs those to determine how to proceed with the case against Halliburton and Bird.
Phillips agreed to that, but said he wanted to get the case on the books for a trial before the new year.
To that end, he asked Don Bailey, who represents Halliburton, and Micha Belden, who represents Bird, whether they planned to try the cases together or if they wanted them split.
Bailey answered that they wanted two trials. He said he anticipates they will take at least a week to try. Phillips said that meant they needed to get something on the books quickly so the court could get them both in.
After much discussion of which dates in October or December might work, the two attorneys met with the court coordinator and Belden said they ended up with a pretrial date of Nov. 26 for his client. Bird was then free to leave the courtroom.
That was not the case for Halliburton. Bailey said there had been a motion to revoke Halliburton’s bond filed and Bailey wasn’t going to be able to fight it. The lawyer told his client he would try to find an in-patient treatment facility and get Halliburton released to that facility as quickly as possible. Johnson agreed not to fight that request.
Online court records show Halliburton’s case is set for a pretrial hearing on Nov. 11 and then for trial on Nov. 26.
Before they left, Bailey asked Phillips to incorporate all of the motions filed in the original case against his client to the current charges he faces. Phillips then asked Johnson what the state intended to do with the original charges that were filed. Johnson said he intends to drop those original charges once they have determined what they are going to do about the current charges.
Russell’s mother was in the courtroom Thursday and thanked Johnson for his work on the case.